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First phase of SBS coming to Woodhaven Blvd. in 2017

Dedicated bus lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard.
Courtesy of NYC DOT
By Gabriel Rom

The city Department of Transportation plans to implement a preliminary short-term Select Bus Service program in early 2017 along the Q52 and Q53 bus routes before a full capital build-out, a DOT spokesman said.

The short-term project will bring the controversial SBS program along Woodhaven Boulevard from Park Lane South to Rockaway Boulevard and Liberty Avenue.

The DOT first made the announcement at a Community Advisory Committee meeting at Borough Hall Dec. 15.

According to an agency presentation, the phased initiative will include street resurfacing, roadway and pedestrian safety improvements, bus lanes and transit signal priority and the installation of median bus stops along the 1.3-mile corridor.

As the short-term plan nears completion in spring 2017, the full project will begin in what the DOT is calling an “overlapping lessons learned period.” DOT hopes the full roll-out of SBS, which will extend past the Rockaway Boulevard-Liberty Avenue intersection deep into the Rockaway peninsula, will be shaped by the community response to the short-term project. The design for the short-term SBS project, which will be presented to the community in 2016, will be closely monitored by the DOT and MTA once it is in service, both agencies said.

A spokesman for the DOT stressed that the phased approach would allow the agency to fine-tune the project while delivering safer conditions for pedestrians and faster times for bus riders as soon as possible.

The short-term proposal will be replaced by the full SBS project at an unspecified date.

While the DOT said the short-term project was fully funded, it was unclear whether the long-term project had also secured full funding.

In the face of stubborn public opposition, the MTA has long contended that its SBS route would provide more reliable service for 30,000 daily riders with an anticipated travel time savings of 25 percent to 35 percent and will especially benefit low-income citizens along the Woodhaven corridor who have been plagued with slow buses for years.

SBS, which will support Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero and OneNYC programs, has been presented by advocates as a comprehensive program that will help not only bus riders but drivers, pedestrians and all street users.

The presentation is available on the DOT’s website at: www.nyc.gov/html/brt/downloads/pdf/2015-12-15-brt-woodhaven-cac5-presentation.pdf

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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